Angkor Wat is the biggest temple in one of the most visited religious sites in the world, Angkor. Dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries, these capital ruins of the ancient Khmer Empire stretch over 400 square kilometers in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
However, upon visiting Angkor, visitors soon realize that while it is the largest temple, it is hardly the most memorable. While the spectacular sunrise over Angkor Wat gives reason to visit, its detail and design are not as unique as these five other temples that must be explored on a visit to Angkor.
1. Bayon Temple
Upon approaching the Bayon temple, it appears as a mass of rocks chaotically arranged without any specific form.
Watch and be watched!
After further assessment, faces pop out of the boulders and stare down at you from every direction.
Discover works of art and photo opportunities
If you can pull your eyes away from Bayon’s watchful faces, you’ll notice carvings adorn the temple walls.
2. Ta Keo
Ta Keo is most impressive from atop its steep stairs, looking down at its visitors.
Preservation of the temple-mountain
While in partial decay, restoration of Ta Keo is currently in progress.
3. Ta Prohm
A towering face watches visitors enter Ta Prohm, which has become known as the Tomb Raider Temple. Follow the footsteps of Lara Croft (starred Angelina Jolie), and embark on your personal adventure!
This temple has a set route...
Ta Prohm is easily the busiest temple due to its popularity and because there is a set route that every visitor must follow, instead of wandering aimlessly, admiring as they wish.
Beautiful ruins that hide stories
Many of Angkor’s temples are beautiful in their decay, including Ta Prohm.
Discover the two sides of Nature
Some trees hold Ta Prohm together; while other trees are slowly tearing the temple apart.
Everyone wants a piece (a shot) of this tree!
The most stressful part of visiting Angkor’s temples is trying to get a picture of this very specific tree in Ta Prohm.
4. Banteay Srei
Banteay Srei, while off the beaten path, is worth the visit. Dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva, this underrated temple was built in the 10th century!
Intricate and well-preserved carvings
Its carvings are the most impressive, the most detailed, and the best-preserved carvings you are likely to find throughout Angkor.
Don't miss the guardians of Banteay Srei
Men stand guard at the entrances to the center of Banteay Srei; however, these guardians are now just symbolic. A rope now blocks visitors from getting too close.
Built largely of red sandstone
While its carvings are intact, the entire temple of Banteay Srei is not.
5. Ta Som
Although small, Ta Som is a crowd favorite because it combines architectural styles of Bayon. Imagine the faces and the trees.
Some important details are hidden...
The intricate trees are most impressive; however, at times they hide important details. Look closely.
A quiet spot in Angkor
If you are lucky, you may be able to look down Ta Som’s corridors and find yourself practically alone.
There’s more to Angkor than Angkor Wat
To uncover the true essence of this ancient city of Angkor, start planning your trip now!
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